Rope Tricks

      by Cherie Hunter Day


First published with the author’s “Rengay: Going Solo” essay in Northwest Literary Forum, Autumn 1995, page 40.



grand entry—

rodeo sweethearts’ cupped hands



            all the hats come off . . .

            Star-Spangled Banner


eight-second ride

the cowboy’s swagger

out of the arena


victory lap—

           dust drifts

                      into the grandstand


            littlest buckaroo

            naps on his father’s shoulder


at eighty-five

cowboy still performing

                        rope tricks